Tag Archives: Tryon International Equestrian Center

Tryon Resort Begins Phased Reopening

Mill Spring, NC – May 14, 2020 – In full compliance with local, state, and federal mandates, Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) will reopen with limited operations on May 27, 2020. Horse show competitions will open for competitors, their families, and staff only beginning with the Tryon Spring 6 competition June 3-7. Onsite lodging, shopping, and carry-out-only food service will resume on May 27. TIEC has implemented stringent guidelines to alleviate the potential impact of COVID-19 and the remaining 2020 schedule will follow in accordance with government reopening protocol. All onsite guests are required to wear cloth masks and practice social distancing. These protocols will be strictly enforced.

Horse Shows Closed to the Public

To ensure that the reintroduction of horse shows is smooth, efficient, and most importantly, safe for all involved, TIEC horse shows are closed to the public until further notice, and only competitors, their families, and staff are permitted at this time. Saturday Night Lights is cancelled through the end of summer and hopefully will resume for the fall competition series. That decision will be dependent upon state requirements. Please continue to visit our website at www.Tryon.com and follow our Facebook page for updates on when competitions will reopen to the public.

Live Streaming Available for All Competitions

While public spectating of horse show competitions is not permitted during this limited operations phase, online spectating of all competitions at TIEC will be available via live stream. Schedules, prize lists, daily live stream links, class lists, and orders of go can be found at www.Tryon.com/ThisWeek.

Learn more at www.Tryon.com or call 828-863-1000.

Official Statement from Tryon Resort

Mill Spring, NC – March 13, 2020 – Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center are committed to providing the ultimate equestrian lifestyle destination by first and foremost creating a safe, fun experience for our guests and team.

With that intention in mind, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and we are getting regular updates from experts in the field as well as consulting with peers through our professional networks and organizations. We are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of all Tryon Resort guests and employees.

In response to the guidelines provided by NC Governor Roy Cooper, Tryon Resort’s March 14th events featuring The Cat in the Hat, Touch A Truck, and Community Yard Sale and the March 21st Viking Dash are cancelled. At this time, all other events on the calendar for this year are still planned to proceed as scheduled. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. We will communicate any additional cancellations as decisions are made.

Tryon Resort restaurants are open! We take cleanliness and hygiene seriously, with rigorous sanitation practices throughout the year. We always implement stringent sanitation of our facility and are proactively implementing additional measures, including:

  • Adding additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the property
  • Sanitizing throughout the property on a daily basis
  • Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces multiple times throughout the day
  • Posting educational materials on CDC guidelines and hygiene procedures at entryways, host areas and throughout all Tryon Resort properties
  • Increased training and reinforcement for our rigorous sanitation standards
  • Adjusting food and beverage service in accordance with current food safety recommendations

Furthermore, we strongly encourage all guests to review the CDC’s website for prevention tips and signs of symptoms before visiting. By working together, we can help prevent the spread of germs and provide a safe experience for everyone visiting Tryon Resort. For our equestrian guests, please visit USEF’s website for resources related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We deeply appreciate everyone’s understanding and commitment to keeping our world healthy and safe. We welcome you to visit our restaurants and horse shows. But we respectfully ask that if you are sick, please stay home. We will look forward to seeing you again soon.

Learn more at www.Tryon.com or call 828-863-1000.

The Fork Returns to TIEC Featuring WEG Eventing Test Event

Mill Spring, NC – March 20, 2018 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is proud to announce the return of The Fork at TIEC, the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* and Horse Trials presented by Lucky Clays Farm, on April 4-8. The CIC 3* division of The Fork competition will also serve as the Eventing Test Event in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) in September. General admission and parking are free for all competitions and additional ticketed spectator events will be hosted throughout the week.

Founded by Jim and Bernadette Cogdell, The Fork Horse Trials began 17 years ago in Norwood, NC and moved to TIEC last year to elevate the level of competition and enhance the spectator experience. As one of the most prestigious Eventing competitions on the North American calendar, The Fork is back at the Tryon venue. Alongside the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* competition, Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary, Modified, and Training divisions will also be hosted.

The Fork at TIEC offers an unprecedented chance for spectators to preview top competitors in their final tune-up before the prominent Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY, as well as a preview of the thrilling competition to come to TIEC in September for the WEG. For some riders, The Fork at TIEC will serve as a qualifier for the WEG.

Spectators can also enjoy an impressive lineup of social events throughout the week including a Ladies Champagne Luncheon, Comedy Club Night, Lakeside Lunch with prime viewing of the cross-country course, “What the FORK” Party, and Sunday brunch.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Tryon International Equestrian Center to Open Facility for Equine Evacuees in Path of Hurricane Irma

Mill Spring, NC – September 5, 2017 – In response to numerous requests, Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) has announced they will open the facility for equine evacuees in the wake of Hurricane Irma to assist those in need of safe stabling outside of the storm path and predicted impact radius.

Four hundred stalls will be available for evacuees at TIEC at a discounted rate and will be offered for reservation on a first come, first serve basis. Johnson Horse Transportation, Inc. is helping to coordinate commercial shipments to the Carolinas region from South Florida.

On-site lodging will also be offered at a discounted rate for hurricane evacuees. RV spaces will also be available for reservation. On-site dining and supplies are available through The General Store and a variety of restaurants on property will be open throughout the duration of the week.

Shavings, hay, and feed are available for purchase on property through the Stabling office.

To reserve stalls at TIEC, please contact (828) 863-1005.

To reserve on-site lodging, please contact (828) 863-1001 or book online at www.tryon.com.

To coordinate commercial horse shipment and transportation, please contact Johnson Horse Transportation at (610) 488-7220.

Tryon International Equestrian Center Selected to Host FEI World Equestrian Games 2018

Photo ©MegBanks/TIEC.

Potential to be the largest sporting event in North Carolina history with over $400 million dollars of projected economic impact and 500,000 spectators over the 14-day September 2018 event

Mill Spring, NC – November 3, 2016 – Mark Bellissimo, managing Partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), announced today that the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, Polk County, North Carolina has been selected as the host venue for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 (FEI WEG). The Games, which are administered by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the worldwide governing body of equestrian sport, is the major international championship event for the eight core equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining.

The FEI WEG is held every four years, halfway between the Summer Olympic Games cycle, and will occur from September 10 through 23, 2018.

Bellissimo commented, “We are honored to be selected by the FEI to be the steward of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018. Next to the Olympic Games, the FEI WEG is the most important event on the world equestrian calendar. We are confident that our partnership and our operating team will create a memorable experience for all involved with the ultimate goal of significantly elevating horse sport in the U.S. beyond the 27 million people who ride a horse at least once a year.”

“We are very pleased to announce Tryon as the host of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organising committee. It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”

“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honor of hosting this prestigious event,” Bellissimo said. “It’s a really great fit for the Carolinas’ equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the USEF to produce a tremendous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

Equestrian enthusiasts from over 70 countries trek to WEG host cities every four years to cheer on athletes from their native countries, much like the Olympic Games. The Normandy FEI WEG had a local economic impact of $400 million, or 368 million euros, and an attendance of over 500,000 spectators during the 14-day event.

“We are excited about the impact this event will have on the economic health of the Blue Ridge Foothills region of the Carolinas,” said Sharon Decker, COO of Tryon Equestrian Partners, Carolinas’ Operations.

The event has been held in an impressive list of major cities: Stockholm, Sweden (1990), The Hague, Netherlands (1994), Rome, Italy (1998), Jerez de la Frontera, Spain (2002), Aachen, Germany (2006), Lexington, Kentucky (2010), and Normandy, France (2014).

“We are delighted to welcome the FEI World Equestrian Games back to the United States and are delighted that the event will remain in North America,” said Vicki Lowell, USEF Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We would like to express our gratitude to Tryon Equestrian Partners for stepping up to host this event with such short notice. Tryon Equestrian Partners has proven their ability to execute complex, high-level events and we are confident in their ability to produce an event of this magnitude. As one of the true pinnacles of equestrian sport, hosting the World Equestrian Games provides a fantastic opportunity to elevate the sport in the United States.”

In 2014, Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) broke ground on the 1,600-acre Tryon Resort, which expands into both Mill Spring and Tryon, NC and includes the Tryon International Equestrian Center. TEP has invested over $125 million dollars over the last two years creating the Tryon Resort, which aspires to be the world’s premiere equestrian lifestyle destination. The design of the venue contemplated hosting the WEG, so a vast majority of the equestrian infrastructure is in place. Recent events accelerated the opportunity and the schedule. Today, TIEC is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the world’s premier equestrian venues complete with 12 riding arenas, over 1,160 permanent stalls, a variety of onsite lodging, restaurants, shops, and a year-round competition and events calendar. TIEC has already hosted several national equestrian competitions including the 2016 American Eventing Championships and the 2016 U.S. Pony Club Championships East. To see a recent video overview of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2ffVehA.

Mark Bellissimo is also the managing partner and largest shareholder of Equestrian Sport Productions, an organization with more than 150 full-time staff and 1,000 part-time staff, that is the largest show organizer in the US and operates more FEI competitions than any other event organizer in the world with 38 weeks of CDI and CSI events through four venues in the following states: Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, and Central Park, New York. The Bellissimo Family is also the owner and publisher of The Chronicle of the Horse, the US most respected and widely distributed horse sport magazine and online media property (www.coth.com). The Chronicle of the Horse’s online media attracts over 8.3 million unique visitors annually.  Together Bellissimo and his partners have invested nearly $500 million in equestrian related assets and properties in Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado which includes the recent $72 million dollar purchase of the International Polo Club in Palm Beach in the spring of 2016.

TIEC is already a welcomed economic engine for the region, having created hundreds of jobs, and is employing thousands in construction efforts over the last two years. WEG’s estimated $400 million impact will extend up to and beyond Charlotte, Asheville, Hickory in North Carolina and Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina. TEP estimates it will invest an additional $100 million dollars over the next two years during phase two of the development which is primarily focused on resort amenities including lodging and hospitality elements.

“Our partnership built the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to support all levels and disciplines of equestrian sport including international competitions and championships,” added Bellissimo. “Our partnership’s passion for equestrian sport is based on our belief that we can grow the sport in the Americas, and that this country needs a comprehensive high-profile, high-quality destination to showcase all equestrian disciplines to an expanding spectator base and to increase access to horse sport for all socio-economic groups.”

For more information or to log inquiries or questions for the 2018 FEI WEG, please visit www.TryonWEG.com.

For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.

Frederik the Great to Make Special Appearance at Tryon Int’l Equestrian Center on Oct. 1

Mill Spring, NC – September 26, 2016 – Frederik the Great, a fifteen-year-old Friesian stallion and internet sensation, will travel to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) for a special appearance and meet and greet event on Saturday, October 1, during “Saturday Night Lights” after concluding his promotion of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and interacting with fans in New York City last week.

“Frederik not only captivates his audience with his breathtaking beauty, but also loves to light up a crowd with his outgoing and charismatic personality,” says Stacy Nazario, owner of Frederik. “We’re very excited to continue his tour and experience the magic of Tryon International Equestrian Center.”

Frederik the Great has amassed over 14 million views on YouTube and is considered by many as “The World’s Most Handsome Horse” trademarked by his thick black mane and muscular build. After starting the week in Manhattan with a special guest appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Frederik took to Wollman Rink in front of swarms of endearing fans to promote the Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

“Frederik’s presence at this year’s Rolex Central Park Horse Show was a display of true beauty and showcased the enchantment of the horse, which we feel is very much paralleled with the atmosphere that has been established at TIEC,” said Katherine Bellissimo, Principal of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “We are looking forward to welcoming Frederik and his team to TIEC in what we believe will be a magical experience for our guests and spectators this Saturday evening.”

Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) will host Frederik the Great during this week’s “Saturday Night Lights” event featuring the $25,000 Adequan® Grand Prix, starting at 7:00 p.m. The beautiful stallion will be presented in the George H. Morris Arena with owner Stacey Nazario and handler Jessica Ray. Frederik will also be available for a meet and greet session for spectators and admirers at 5:30 p.m. ahead of the start of the grand prix.

For more information about Frederik the Great, please click here. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.tryon.com.

Tryon International Equestrian Center to Host “Sounds of Nashville” Concert on September 3

Mill Spring, NC – August 23, 2016 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is celebrating the culmination of the Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover from Wednesday, August 31, through Sunday, September 4, with a free “Sounds of Nashville” concert presented by Coca Cola® on Saturday, Sept. 3. “Raised by the Radio” star Mitch Rossell, who has opened for the legendary Garth Brooks, is headlining the concert at 8:00 p.m. Country music singer Julia Cole, who has opened for country music sensation Hunter Hayes, will go on at 6:30 p.m. General admission to the concert is free and open to the public with gates opening at 5:00 p.m. VIP tickets for seating in the Legends Club and Sky Deck are available for purchase by visiting www.tryon.com.

To celebrate the inaugural hosting of the 2016 Nutrena® USEA American Event Championships presented by Land Rover at TIEC, the venue will host a free concert featuring Nashville country music singers, autograph sessions with the top level United States eventing riders, and free, family-friendly entertainment.

Celebrity Bartender Showdown

Prior to the concert at 6:00 p.m., TIEC will host a “Celebrity Bartender Showdown” featuring many of Team USA’s best eventing athletes including Boyd Martin, Lauren Kieffer, and Bobby Costello. The celebrity bartenders will mix specialty cocktails and sign autographs to help raise money for Brooke USA. For every $9 raised, a working donkey or equine in drought-ridden Ethiopia will be provided with a lifetime water supply. Donkeys and equines are the livelihood of families in this region of the world.

American Eventing Championships

The Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover, beginning on Wednesday, August 31, through Sunday, September 4, is the annual championship for each level of the sport of eventing offered in the United States. The public is invited to watch competitions and attend celebratory events throughout the week including the “Welcome Party” on Wednesday, August 31, the “Cleghorn Adult Shoot Out” on Thursday, September 1, “Dinner & a Movie” on Friday, September 2, and the “Sounds of Nashville” concert presented by Coca Cola® on Saturday, September 3. Tickets are required for some events and can be purchased at: www.AECTryon.eventbrite.com.

For more information about Tryon International Equestrian Center, please call (828) 863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

Tryon Equestrian Partners Announce Pursuit of 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games

Saturday Nights Lights events at the main International Arena at TIEC have attracted a large following.

USEF strongly endorses Tryon bid to FEI. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley both support initiative.

MILL SPRING, N.C. (AUGUST 2, 2016): Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners, confirmed today that the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, N.C. is working with United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to ensure that the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) remain in North America and USEF has communicated its support of the initiative to the FEI for the 2018 WEG.

The WEG, which is administered by the Fédération Equestre International (FEI), the worldwide governing body of equestrian sport, occurs every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle and is the major international championship event for Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.  The Bromont venue, located in Canada, which had been awarded the 2018 games, announced last week that they were withdrawing from their hosting arrangement with the FEI.

The United States Equestrian Federation has communicated via letter to the FEI their strong support of the bid to host the 2018 Games in North Carolina.  William Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of USEF, commented, “While it is unfortunate the games will not be able to take place at Bromont, the USEF believes it is critical that the WEG remain in North America as intended so that the globalization of the sport can continue.” USEF President, Chrystine Tauber, added, “Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners have a brand new venue, deep experience and sufficient resources to make this happen. They have the USEF’s full endorsement.”

Both N.C. and S.C. state and local governments have expressed support of the bid. The last WEG in North America was held in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010. The games had an economic impact of $201.5 million over the event’s 14 days according to a financial study commissioned by the state.

“North Carolina’s infrastructure and natural beauty make our state a natural fit to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” said Governor McCrory. “We will support efforts to host the Games in our state which will provide not only a positive experience to all those attending, but a significant boost to North Carolina’s rapidly growing economy.”

S.C. Governor Haley echoed support for the WEG. “We have a long and rich history in equestrian competition, and welcome the opportunity to showcase our state’s world-renowned hospitality and tourism assets to the attendees and participants of this prestigious event.”

Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) has invested over $125 million dollars over the last two years developing 1,500 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to create what they believe to be the premier equestrian lifestyle destination and resort in the world.  The Tryon International Equestrian Center is the centerpiece of that effort. This venue includes 1,200 permanent stalls, 12 competition arenas, a lighted international arena that seats 6,000 (expandable to 12,000) with multiple VIP areas, a large covered/indoor arena that seats 5,000, as well a world-class cross country course which will support both Eventing and Driving.  TIEC is nestled within North Carolina horse country which is accessible to hundreds of miles of equestrian trails to support Endurance.  Click here to view Tryon Venue Slideshow – http://bit.ly/2a8YmKp.

Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is strategically located between Charlotte, NC, Asheville NC, and Greenville/Spartanburg SC.  Asheville and Greenville GSP airports are within 35 minutes from the venue and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is approximately one hour from the venue.

Mark Bellissimo, TEP managing partner, commented, “Our partnership built the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to support all levels and disciplines of equestrian sport including international competitions and championships.  Our partnership’s passion for equestrian sport is based on our belief that we can grow the sport in the Americas, and that this country needs a comprehensive high-profile, high-quality destination to showcase all equestrian disciplines to an expanding spectator base.”

Bellissimo presides over an organization, with over 150 full-time staff and 1,000 part-time staff, that operates more FEI competitions than any other organizer in the world with 38 weeks of CDI and CSI events through four venues (Wellington, Tryon, Colorado, and Central Park) that includes 6 CSI 5*, 1 CSIO 4*, 1 CDIO 4*, 4 CDI W’s, 1 CDI 5*, 2 CPEDI, as well as the multi-discipline North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC).  The collective organizations own and operate three of the largest facilities and some of the most prominent events in the world: The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla., which hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Global Dressage Festival, which in their peak week will have more than 3,500 horses competing within the 12-week winter circuit; The Colorado Horse Park, which just hosted the NAJYRC; and the Tryon International Equestrian Center venue, which hosts 10 FEI weeks. The TIEC venue will be hosting the American Eventing Championships in September 2016 which will have over 600 entries.

On the commercial side, Bellissimo believes its portfolio of 130 sponsors is one of the strongest in the industry. Many sponsors have already expressed encouragement and interest in the WEG event since Bromont’s withdrawal as host of the 2018 games. In addition to Bellissimo, the organizing committee would include Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions and former Secretary General of the FEI, who has been involved in the WEG process for all events since the inaugural games in 1990 (with the exception of the 2014 Normandy WEG games); Sharon Decker, Chief Operating Officer of Tryon International Equestrian Center and former Secretary of Commerce for the State of North Carolina would lead the efforts on behalf of the TIEC facility, and Jim Wolf, former USEF Chef de Mission, whose 20-year tenure with USEF provided various experiences and responsibilities in U.S. WEG and Olympic team efforts.

Bellissimo further commented, “The WEG is a very challenging and complicated event.  With the exception of Aachen, Germany, most venues are forced to spend many years and tens of millions of dollars investing and developing the venue infrastructure, developing the personnel, attracting sponsors, and managing logistics for the WEG. This takes a financial and operational toll by consuming scarce resources on the venue construction and team building efforts for a one-time event. We have a fully functional equestrian venue, the management team and operational staff, and the sponsor pipeline in place, so the bulk of our energy will be on operational execution and showcasing the event and the sport to the world.”

Bellissimo added, “We are uniquely and immediately positioned to hold all eight disciplines within a central venue.  Further, our integrated approach to existing on-site lodging, restaurants, permanent VIP hospitality venues, and abundance of on-site and local area family activities would be attractive for vendors, sponsors, competitors, horse owners, and spectators.  In addition, there are 60,000 hotel beds within 60 miles of the venue. We are confident that these elements would create a very successful games and re-energize the WEG product.”

For more information please click on the following links.

Tryon Venue Slideshow – http://bit.ly/2a8YmKp
Tryon – www.tryon.com
Saturday Night Lights Video – http://bit.ly/2airvhS
Opening Ceremonies Video – http://bit.ly/1IscKVz

To keep informed, please “Like” both the Chronicle of the Horse Facebook and the Tryon International Equestrian Center and join our email newsletters.

For further information, please contact:

Equestrian: Jennifer Wood – Jennifer@Jenniferwoodmedia.com, 803-240-7488
TIEC: Carly Weilminster – cweilminster@tryon.com, 410-245-7441

About The FEI World Equestrian Games.  The modern WEG runs over two weeks and, like the Olympics, the location rotates to different parts of the world. At the 2010 Games, 57 countries were represented by 800 people and their horses. The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organized outside Europe were the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, which was held in Normandy (FRA).

About the TEP Partnership:

The TEP Partnership is comprised of six equestrian families who are all committed to the long term development and growth of equestrian sport: Mark and Katherine Bellissimo, Roger and Jennifer Smith, Lisa Lourie, Jenji and Diana Mercer, Howard and Gwen Dvorkin, and Joe and Cindy Mitchell.

Pony Club Riders Receive Unique Competition Experience at Tryon International Equestrian Center

Photo Credit ©MegBanks/TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – August 1, 2016 – More than 600 young riders, ages 12-25, traveled from across the United States to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to participate in the 2016 U.S. Pony Club Championships East hosted from Wednesday, July 27, through Sunday, July 31. In addition to the competition, which featured seven disciplines of equestrian sport, Pony Club members and their families were treated to a week’s worth of entertainment and fun.

TIEC and Polk County welcomed the Pony Club community with a block party on Wednesday night featuring free carousel rides, face painting, karaoke, magician, pony rides, games and a bouncy house. The fun continued on Thursday night with the first-ever “Battle of the Barns Lip Sync Contest,” where 25 teams competed for bragging rights and prize money. The first place team took home $1,000, second place won $750, and third place won $500. TIEC made an additional $1,000 donation to the U.S. Pony Club in honor of the first place winning team.

On Friday night, TIEC welcomed the world-famous Double Dan Horsemanship, a duo who entertains crowds around the world, performing their electrifying liberty horse demonstration and displaying the ultimate partnership between horse and human. Afterward, attendees stayed to watch “National Velvet” on the jumbotron in the George H. Morris Arena as part of TIEC’s weekly “Friday Night at the Movies” series.

TIEC introduced Pony Club to its popular “Saturday Night Lights” entertainment series on Saturday, culminating the unique, Tryon-based championship experience. Both Pony Club members and spectators enjoyed free carnival-style fun including carousel and pony rides, face painting, entertainers, and a special pre-show by the Skydiving Angels parachute team.

Courtney Hoffman, a dressage competitor, particularly enjoyed the added entertainment. “The nighttime activities, those were really fun,” said Hoffman. “We got to hang out with our whole region. The lip sync was really fun! We actually didn’t sign up; we were the ones who kept dancing in the bleachers and who kept trying to get on the jumbotron.”

Both TIEC and U.S. Pony Club share a goal to grow equestrian sport by making it accessible and available to anyone. For TIEC, the entertainment events serve a greater purpose in growing the sport.

“Pony Clubs stand for horsemanship, teamwork, respect for the horse, respect for oneself, service, and education, and those are all attributes and areas of focus that we want to be true of Tryon Resort and Tryon International Equestrian Center,” said Sharon Decker, Chief Operations Officer for Tryon Equestrian Partners Carolinas Operations. “We think we make great partners because one of our objectives is to grow equestrian sport and pony clubs are where it all begins, so it’s been a true honor to host the United States Pony Club Championships East this week and we look forward to a long relationship with pony clubs.”

Building upon this mission, TIEC also held a challenge during the week to give at least 100 kids their first pony ride. More than 100 kids participated in the challenge and TIEC awarded a $250 Pony Club scholarship to three participants chosen at random.

“The purpose of these fun events is to expose Pony Club and equestrian sport to our local audiences and generate interest in the sport,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “This championship event brought many new families to our Carolinas region and we wanted to give these young riders an audience to celebrate their major accomplishments with them. Everything we do at TIEC goes back to our mission of growing interest in equestrian sport.”

Pony Club member Bella Curtis appreciated the fan fare from the crowd. She said, “During the senior games [on Saturday night], it was really cool that a lot of people were seeing mounted games for the first time and they were cheering like it was a football game because a lot of the time the only people who watch games are the other people who ride games.”

The duration of the week hosted Pony Club riders competing in seven different disciplines simultaneously around the show grounds, showcasing the magnitude of the TIEC venue what the facility can accommodate in terms of championships competition. Pony Club eventing competitors also had the privilege of being the first to ride on a portion of the new cross-country course at TIEC.

For many Pony Club competitors, the TIEC facility was one of the first that allowed different disciplines to intermingle and celebrate together in a unified Pony Club atmosphere.

“[The TIEC facility] lets others come together because sometimes during Championships you don’t get to communicate with other people from other regions and you’re really able to come together as a whole Pony Club here and I think that’s really cool,” said Pony Club member Georgia Diroberto.

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center and U.S. Pony Club Championships East, please visit www.tryon.com.

Pony Club Rider First to Experience Cross-Country Course at Tryon International Equestrian Center

Rachael Wood and Standing Ovation. ©GRCPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – July 30, 2016 – More than 600 riders participated in the U.S. Pony Club Championships East held at Tryon International Equestrian Center from July 27-31, 2016. Embracing the Pony Club motto, “where it all begins,” competitors made history as the first riders to experience TIEC’s highly-anticipated cross-country course designed by Captain Mark Phillips, one of the world’s most renowned cross-country course designers. Out of all the Pony Club members in attendance, Greenville, SC native Rachael Wood (20) and her 17.2 hand Clydesdale x TB/Warmblood cross, Standing Ovation, were the very first competitors to set out around the newly minted track.

For Wood, being the first rider on the course was an “incredible” moment and will forever be one of her favorite memories at TIEC.

“You feel like you’re some top Olympian because everyone’s there and they saw the whole thing,” explains Wood. “You can hear them cheering and then you come off and feel like you’re just the greatest rider in the world because everyone’s like, ‘Whoooooo!’ You don’t normally get that on a regular cross-country course.”

Click here to learn more about TIECs cross-country course.

“We are pleased to have the facility’s first cross-country course rider be a Pony Club member,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “Like the organization’s motto states, Pony Club is where many top riders around the world begin their equestrian careers, and we are grateful for the investment Pony Club makes in shaping these young equestrians.”

Sharon Decker, Chief Operations Officer for Tryon Equestrian Partners Carolinas Operations, added, “One of our priorities is growing equestrian sport and Pony Club is the place it all begins,” said Decker. “Pony Club’s focus on horsemanship, teamwork, respect for the horse and self, service, and education totally align with who we are as an organization. We are so proud to have this event here and look forward to many more exciting Pony Club events here in years to come.”

Wood has been a member of Pony Club since she was 12 years old and grew up riding in the western discipline before transitioning into the hunter/jumpers. She fell in love with cross-country after watching it once and started eventing shortly thereafter. Standing Ovation is blind in one eye, but lives to please a crowd according to Wood and was encouraged by the crowd’s continuous cheers.

“[Standing Ovation] was sharp and very excited,” said Wood. “Today with all the commotion he was extra excited, but he was very attentive to my aids. It was a little bit ‘looky’ for him, but he definitely came to play.”

Wood had previously participated in a Karen O’Connor clinic in 2014 at TIEC and was impressed by the facility’s rapid development since then, especially surrounding the George Morris Arena.

“When we rode in [the George Morris Arena], Legends Club wasn’t even here,” said Wood. “You come back and you’re like, is this the same arena? It’s crazy.”

Wood is returning in September to compete in the Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Land Rover (AEC), also being held at TIEC from August 31 – September 4.

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center, U.S. Pony Club Championships East, or USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), visit www.tryon.com.